The Legend of Korra: The Ultimatum
August 15, 2014 6:54 AM - Season 3, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Ba Sing Se is in chaos, looters flood the upper ring and the Queen's Palace, while fires spread throughout the fallen walled city. Mako and Bolin, freed by Zaheer to deliver a message to the Avatar, manage to secure an Earth Kingdom airship to seek Korra in the desert, but not before saving their large family from a flaming building. Soon they found their way to the Misty Palms Oasis and deliver the chilling message to Korra. Also, Bolin and Mako's grandmother decides she's going to take a nap.

"Surrender yourself to the Red Lotus or the newly re-established Air Nomad nation will be destroyed," is the message from Zaheer. Unable to radio the Northern Air Temple to warn them of the Red Lotus' approach, Team Avatar (temporarily expanded to include Tonraq, Zuko, Lin, Mako and Bolin's grandmother, and perhaps the rest of the clan), head to Zhao Fu to use Suyin's more powerful transmitter. Once there, they succeed in contacting Tenzin, but it's too late, Zaheer and company have arrived. A fierce battle ensues as Tenzin, Kya, and Bumi try to distract the Red Lotus long enough to allow the rest of the air benders time to escape. Also, a surprise appearance of Iroh, still obsessed with teapots, and a Zuko more than happy to leave everything to go home to keep his daughter, the Fire Lord, safe.
posted by Atreides (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Worse cliff hanger ending, EVER. By ever, I mean it did a fantastic job of killing me with the idea of having to wait for the resolution next week.

I found the organization of the episode kind of off, compared to other episodes, in that instead of interweaving the events of the episode such A story on, then B story, then A story, it really was Episode Part 1 and Episode Part 2, complete with an ominous ending to Part 1, "It's too late, they're here..." At which point, we get a new episode entirely about the fight at the Northern Air Temple. To a degree, I actually found that jarring, but with regard to the content of the episode, I don't think you could have done it any other way without lessening the pulse pounding excitement (and fear) of the battle between Tenzin, Kya and Bumi versus the Red Lotus.

The shots of Ba Sing Se falling apart were beautiful in their tragedy, as it seems the Queen was the tyrannical linchpin that kept the city's society in place. When the soldier threw his hands up and joined the looting, it showcased that fragile nature of the system that had rotted away (perhaps well established by the return of the Dai Li and the use of secret, interior tunnels and rooms beneath the city - literally, it was rotting from the inside out). I would have loved to have seen a scene or two of the residents of the Upper Ring running for their lives or to retain their possessions - my theory is that those departing airships may have well been some of those folk.

Speculatively speaking, Ba Sing Se's chaos will have to be addressed in some form in the season finale, even if to setup a problem that perhaps the Metal Clan/aka Suyin will help step in and repair/fix/rebuild.

When the airship landed at the Misty Palms Oasis, nearly crushing Zuko's dragon, I imagined a conversation between Mako and Bolin, "Where should we land? There, how about next to the DRAGON?" Bolin's quip about landing was a nice touch. For much of this segment of the episode, it seemed Granny Lin (Lin, right?) served to help lift some entertainment out of the show having to shift gears in preparation of getting everyone everywhere they needed to be for the finale. "Radio won't work - must go to Zhao Fu!" Not really interesting. "We can't reach the Northern Air Temple on the radio!" Again, still kind of not very exciting. Yet, nearly every transition we had Granny punching the moment with some kind of amusing statement, "I'll take a nap!" "Why aren't you dating nice girls like these?" "You have large muscles for a girl..."

Zuko remains kind of muted for the most part, somewhat disappointingly. He kind of just stands there when Mako and Bolin arrive, reacts hardly at all to Bolin's fanboy freak out (great stuffs), and then we see him saddling ol' Dragon Bessie ready to go. To be fair, I'd assume he has some kind of living legend status, so perhaps he's used to fanboys (or girls) fawning over him. Likewise, he's at least in his 80's, he's an old man now...but probably the best moment was his reaction to learning that Korra had spoken with Iroh. WHEN IS HE GOING TO GO TO THE SPIRIT PORTAL TO SEE HIM? Ahem. I suppose it's a case of too many actors on stage, but I feel that he hasn't been as animated/interesting as he could have been - something that the elevator scene was essentially the opposite of.

Korra's visit to the Spirit World and encounter with Iroh was fun, though, interesting that they would have him serve again as a spirit guide for Korra at a critical moment. It was great that they acknowledged that Korra no longer had the ability to fall back on previous avatars - is Iroh (and other spirits?) going to become new sources for Korra to rely upon for advice? And teapots...do they just randomly show up in the spirit world? I never turn down a moment with Iroh, even a non-Mako voiced Iroh, so it was still a pleasing diversion. I have to believe that since Zuko came up in the conversation with Iroh and Iroh came up in conversation with Zuko, they're sitting us up with the eventual meeting.

The battle at the Northern Air Temple. One thing that kept popping up in my mind when Tenzin fought Zaheer (the fight we've all been waiting for) was that one man taught himself to air bend / the other was trained by a solid link to the air nation of the past - Tenzin learned from a master who had been taught by master monks. This is the son of Aang! Tenzin appeared to have the edge, forcing Zaheer on the defensive over and over, using techniques and forms that Zaheer hadn't previously used in any of his earlier fights. It was awesome. In a straight up fight, it appeared the Zaheer would have ultimately lost his battle with Tenzin. The only other fight between the two that I'm hoping to see is the battle of philosophies, a debate concerning what the air nomad guru, the apparent inspiration for Zaheer, really meant in her words. A number of people have guessed that Tenzin will die this season, I don't think that's going to happen, if only because the show hasn't setup his death. Wait, you say, we last saw him surrounded by the Red Lotus, being pummeled, possibly to death and he defiantly states, "It's not over until I stop breathing." Guess who stopped breathing last episode? I do think it's obvious they aren't going to kill Tenzin off screen, but they're going to beat him to an inch of his life. If he's beaten to an inch of his life, he will be too hurt to fight any further and thus, will be more of a bystander in the ultimate show down. If he does die, then it'll be the moment Korra rushes to his side - he won't die without her nearby. Will Zaheer pull the Earth Queen trick on Tenzin, using him as the first air bender to die for refusing to surrender? That's my bet, money's down, otherwise Tenzin lives, albeit beat to heck.

It's a statement to Tenzin's belief in Bumi's fighting experience that he asks Bumi to help fight the Red Lotus, when all the other air benders of similar training were sent away. It seemed really that poor Bumi was more about staying alive than actually fighting, at least, until he got a good bite in. Kya, awesome as ever, and her move snapping the ice blade and flinging it back at Ming-Hua was slick (in more ways than one - ha ha, eh, sorry). At least they put up a fight longer than Mako or Bolin.

Kai. Well, he's definitely won me over, and he's kind of setup to be a neo-Aang. He's a little older, but there's a lot of Aang's boldness and appearance of a young air bender fighting against larger odds that struck me. (Granted - I'm re-watching ATLA at the moment). It seems the secret to surviving in the world of Avatar is to fall into impenetrable clouds - You will always survive. I did wonder if Jinora was going to have a chance to "avenge" Kai's apparent demise by some kind of awesome spirit rallying call or some kind of spiritual attack of sorts - but not yet, at least.

Despite the way the episode was structured, I definitely enjoyed it. We have the Metal Clan security prepping to join Team Avatar's counter-attack, and if Zhao Fu is any sign, this addition to Team Avatar should provide the overwhelming force of talent and numbers needed to bring down the Red Lotus - which seems too easy. The stakes remain high with the air benders under the control of the Red Lotus and Ba Sing Se in chaos. All that's left is to wait and watch.
posted by Atreides at 11:44 AM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

I know that Republic City Dispatch has been on Tenzin Deathwatch since the start of the season, but no no no no no. NO. I want another baby sky bison to save him, I want him beaten and bruised but alive, and his two big siblings, who have teased him and tormented him when he was a baby but protected him and defended him and loved him, I want them to find him and save him, because they gotta look out for each other, y'know?

Red Lotus are freakin' awesome as villians. I love how so much of Bumi's fighting method isn't about the airbending as it is about his old non-bending fightin' skills (and he was obviously such a scrapper when he was a kid).

Overall, I'm just on my seat edge, going "No no no no no oh my god no", and jeeez, how on earth is this going to end?
posted by Katemonkey at 1:33 PM on August 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Overall, I'm just on my seat edge, going "No no no no no oh my god no", and jeeez, how on earth is this going to end?

I keep on thinking to myself, "But they're the bad guys, they can't win...Korra will win..." But then further think, "What if the writers want to pull an ESB on us or something?!"

I share your anxiety. -_-
posted by Atreides at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2014


Well there is a fourth season, so unless they pull an epic reveal that it's now The Red Lotus Kills Everything Show, then we know Korra survives.

Tenzin, I am scared for.

I am kind of tired of the "let's lure the Avatar out by threatening the Air People" plot though; Amon did it already. Heck, Unalaq did it with Jinora. Enough with the Air Nation being the helpless damsels in distress. I hope they not only get their own back but are simply doing their thing next season and not being constantly threatened by baddies.

Kya and Bumi: aw, falling down cliffs together build sibling closeness. In real life they would totally be dead though.

Baby air bison rescue! Kai is a bit of woobie, he stepped right out of Jinora's Adorable Yet Rascally Boys Who are Secretly Noble and Heroic romances. It makes me roll my eyes a bit; in bad moments he just seems like Aang with Hair and Not the Avatar. My favorite airbenders are still the rank and file; in fact I love any time we hang out with the non-main characters.

I was glad Bolin grabbed Granny and hopped out of there. Granny apparently snapped a while ago. Who can blame her for needing a nap after that, though.

I was kind of hoping for Ming Hua and Ghazar to have limits to how bad they will be, but I think when you're doing a group beatdown on a guy like Tenzin and threatening babies and kids, you kinda blow your chance at decent. It would be cheap for them to have a crisis of conscience at this point, I suppose. Sparky Boom Boom Girl remains, like her predecessor, a hell-bent killing machine without much of a story otherwise.

I was a little sad there was no Tenzin Aircycle during the fight.
posted by emjaybee at 4:46 PM on August 15, 2014


Well there is a fourth season, so unless they pull an epic reveal that it's now The Red Lotus Kills Everything Show, then we know Korra survives.

Oh yah, I wasn't referring to Korra. More of, she fails to stop them completely, and Tenzin dies and the end isn't so much a victory as a lead in to a final confrontation in the next book.

Or, you know, they COULD kill Korra, and then the series skips ahead 9 months and we have Mako, Bolin and Bumi finding the baby avatar and play parents. 13 episodes of them playing baby fathers. Yep!

I was kind of hoping for Ming Hua and Ghazar to have limits to how bad they will be, but I think when you're doing a group beatdown on a guy like Tenzin and threatening babies and kids, you kinda blow your chance at decent. It would be cheap for them to have a crisis of conscience at this point, I suppose. Sparky Boom Boom Girl remains, like her predecessor, a hell-bent killing machine without much of a story otherwise.

They're zealots, everything is righteous in the name of the cause. Zaheer has already shown that death and destruction is a necessary ingredient to reach the promise land. As is, none of the Red Lotus attacked any of the air benders who weren't fighting back. (Threaten, yes, but not attack). Ganging up on Tenzin, well, he's trying to keep them from pulling off their plan to capture the Avatar. I doubt they would kill him if they could subdue him, the same way they chose not to kill Mako or Bolin.
posted by Atreides at 5:34 PM on August 15, 2014


Yeah, but we got a little glimpse of their humanity last week with Bolin. You could make the point that letting Ba Sing Se people revolt isn't monstrous; they are not directly killing anyone, except the Queen, who was set up as a monster herself.

It was possible to feel some sympathy or at least hope for them to rethink what they are doing (not Zaheer, because he's clearly round the bend, and P'li hasn't had the chance to say enough to give any indication of who she is, other than devoted to Zaheer). But Ming-Hua and Ghazan did seem more sympathetic. And while I expect an adult show to say "Yeah, but even though Nazis were nice to random people sometimes, they still had to be killed because they just kept murdering everyone else," it's not the typical viewpoint for a kid show.

Which is not really a complaint against the writers. I appreciate not knowing what the hell is going to happen; it's a rare feeling!
posted by emjaybee at 5:54 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's time to ask now: how will the villains be taken down?

Ming-Hua; some sort of electro-glove shock through her water arms from Asami?

Ghazan: What stops lava, anyway? Lots of water? That would be tough to arrange at the Air Temple. Epic amounts of metalbending (can he make lava from metal?)? Drowning in a lake? Squashed by herd of angry bison?

P'li: we know her weakness. But if she died that way, it'd just be a repeat of A:TLA. I tend to think she'll take the fall for Zaheer in some way, before the Avatar and/or her crew finish him off. Like throw herself in front of something lethal, die, he says something patronizing, starts final attack.

Zaheer: we know this will have to be something epic, unprecedented, possibly spiritual. Either that or Meelo's lethal fartbending.
posted by emjaybee at 6:49 PM on August 15, 2014


Every appearance of Spirit Iroh just rubs me the wrong way. It's blatant fan pandering in a way younger characters from the original show appearing isn't, and having him be accessible takes away the impact of his death. Part of the reason death is so, y'know, important, is that you lose the deceased's accumulated wisdom, and being able to talk to the dead means death isn't as important.
posted by Small Dollar at 11:45 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Part of the reason death is so, y'know, important, is that you lose the deceased's accumulated wisdom, and being able to talk to the dead means death isn't as important.

Er...this entire show and the show that preceded it is based on the principle of reincarnation, with the Avatar being able to speak with their previous lives.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:54 AM on August 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can't stop seeing Ba Sing Se as being essentially an allegory for what happened after Saddam Hussein was removed from power. The tyrannical despot who kept order indeed.

Glad to see Mako and Bolin saved their grandmother so she can go on to open that home for imaginary friends.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:16 AM on August 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Every appearance of Spirit Iroh just rubs me the wrong way. It's blatant fan pandering in a way younger characters from the original show appearing isn't, and having him be accessible takes away the impact of his death. Part of the reason death is so, y'know, important, is that you lose the deceased's accumulated wisdom, and being able to talk to the dead means death isn't as important.

I think it would be different if Iroh had died in some dramatic fashion on screen and then the next week, Poof! There he is! He died off screen and his connection to the spiritual realm was actually established in ATLA (the episode of ATLA: The Desert), so of any of the original characters, it makes the most sense that he would find a place in the spiritual realm. If Mako died sacrificing himself for Korra in the finale next week, then immediately popped up in the spirit realm in Book 4, then it'd be a definite cheapening of the death and what not.

I can't stop seeing Ba Sing Se as being essentially an allegory for what happened after Saddam Hussein was removed from power. The tyrannical despot who kept order indeed.

I don't think this is a far stretch, though, based on the great disparity in wealth, I'd tag it more on revolutions, like the French or Russian, or what not.

I think it's time to ask now: how will the villains be taken down?

Good question!

Ming-Hua - I like your suggestion, and it'd be awesome for Asami to take down one of the Red Lotus. With Tonraq onboard and Kya present, we have two formidable water benders, but somehow, I don't think we're going to necessarily see like bender vs like bender as much as we just did.

Ghazan - I would have loved to have seen Zuko pull the Roku move and suck the heat out of the lava and render it cold stone - which really would just leave him with regular earth bending, but it'd be neat to see him neutered like that.

P'li - I also like your idea of her sacrificing herself for Zaheer in some way. It'd be too old had to have her go down in the same manner that Combustion Man went out, especially since they already kind of used it during the rescue of Korra earlier in the season.

Zaheer - I really want to say Zaheer is going to die, somewhat of a mirror of what Tenzin uttered at the end of the last episode. He'll never give up so long as he breaths, and if he loses his freedom, it's like losing air..etc...etc. What I really want to see happen is some kind of refutation of his core beliefs, where he's confronted with a truth he can't deny and it just reduces him to nothing. "I did all this...and I was wrong?" Incidentally, take away the anarchist buddhist thought, and the desire to simply move the White Lotus Society back to their origin as more of just an enlightened society, isn't necessarily an evil one at all.
posted by Atreides at 8:07 AM on August 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Going into the final week of Book 3 of Korra, I figure it's worth a quick thought on how change has been applied to the world of Avatar. It's been present on the micro and macro scale of the show, from characters to kingdoms.

We began with a new changed world in the wake of Book 2 with the opening of the spirit portals and the presence of spirits in the non-spiritual world, not to mention the spirit vines and groves that dot Republic City. In an even larger sense of change, we also observed the return of air bending on a massive scale (versus the four air benders who were alive at the moment). The entire balance of the Avatar bending world was shifted as these new air benders appeared. At the same time, these new benders experienced a dramatic change in their own lives, including Aang's son Bumi.

It should also be mentioned that this highlighted another element, a natural element which always comes with change, those who resist it. As much as we all were excited that air bending had returned, there were plenty of new air benders who had no desire to change their lives or who they were to help re-establish a new air nomad nation. The resistance to change essentially appeared along every plot line which included change in various ways, and I'll just reference them as I note the various changing aspects. For example, the resistance to change in Republic City, where the presence of the spirits and the vines and groves were quite unwelcomed, nearly as disruptive to its citizens as the prospect of leaving behind old lives was for many of the new air benders.

For our characters, change came mostly in how they viewed themselves and others, and also, how they tried to change their own ways. Our first is Korra, who after Book 2 has decided to try and change the way she approaches her life as the avatar. More thinking, less action, and this was shown in the first episode in her attempt to remove the spirit lines. The resistance to change, though, was pretty evident in Episode 10, when she unthinkingly air bended the Earth Kingdom airmen straight into the flight controls, leading the airship to crash into the desert. She has also developed as a metal bender, changing what it means to be the Avatar by mastering five forms of bending, instead of just four (that's if you don't count metal bending as simply a sub form of Earth Bending).

Tenzin has changed as well, mainly in the manner that he views his daughter Jinora. He's been forced by her own insistence to view her as less a daughter and more as a fellow air bender. Her own mastery represents a level of maturity that he definitely has had trouble coping with, she's changing before his eyes, and like many a father, he isn't ready for it to happen. Likewise, another family member has changed in his eyes, Bumi. Tenzin's perception of Bumi has definitely developed from seeing him as goofy and a little whacky, to a natural leader of others.

Kai, our roguish young air bender and neo-Aang. He has definitely gone the Han Solo route from thief to hero over the duration of his story in Book 3. His own resistance to change came after he had promised to put the thieving life behind him, and not until he was subjugated by the Dai Li and his natural empathy for others worse off rose to the surface, did he seem to turn the corner. It was capped by his selfless act to distract P'li in the most recent episode, the direct opposite of the selfish act of theft, in which Kai's change reached its pinnacle.

Mako's change has been generally to accept a life where he isn't romantically involved with Korra or Asami. He wanted to avoid this life in the beginning and only because Bolin shamed him with regards to their family in Ba Sing Se did he start the process of accepting it. Arguably, the hug in Episode 11 seemed to establish that he was finally in acceptance of this new reality, where the embrace was between friends, not lovers.

Bolin, incidentally, has had the least amount of change until he met Opal. Her continual admonishments and requests helped him to understand that he just needs to be himself, and not the suave cool character he believed all women wanted, is the change he accepted, albeit not immediately. It's hard to call his attempt to metal bend as change, as it's something he's trying to achieve, not resist.

Lin. We had an entire episode dedicated to Lin's change in Book 3, her feelings toward her sister, Suyin. Her resistance was highlighted by her vicious verbal assault on Opal, something that left Lin in tears. In the end, we're left with a Lin who has promised not to attack her sister whenever she visits. It's a start.

Asami. Asami hasn't been the subject of change, surprisingly enough. Strikingly, the change might rather be that of the writers, who have allowed her to be everything she's promised to be since Book 1 and was generally ignored in Book 2. Her friendship with Korra has improved, but it's not really a change versus a development.

Jinora, briefly, has definitely grown as a young woman, and with Kai's encouragement, as someone more confident in herself and demanding of respect from her father. A lot like Asami, it's hard to say she's changed, so much as developed, too.

Bumi. We don't have to say much about Bumi. He's arguably changed the most of any of our primary characters, if only for his new found ability of air bending. As highlighted in his air bending training episode, he overcame his own rejection of what it meant to be an air bender. Prior to that moment when he lead the rescue of Kai, Jinora, and the baby air bison, he was just one person with air bending skills, rather than a member of a new nation of people.

Ironically, the one group of people who represent the greatest amount of change (outside of the new airbenders), the Red Lotus, might truly be those that are resistant the most to change. Despite being imprisoned for 1513 years, they emerged back into the world with the exact same motives and plans that had resulted in their loss of freedom in the past. The agents of change have changed the least in Book 3. Throughout Book 3, those who have resisted change have been the ones who have suffered the most. Number one on this list is the Earth Queen, who refused to accept that the world had changed, or that her duty to her people had changed. We all know what happened to her. Incidentally, with the exception of Zaheer vs Tenzin, the one time the Red Lotus found itself seriously threatened in a battle this season was in the city of change, Zhao Fu, faced with its metal bending warriors.

With regard to change and the Earth Kingdom, we are faced with a realm that is suffering the effects of a ruler who had nothing but an inner focus on themselves. The Earth Queen existed to serve herself, no one else. Bandits roamed the kingdom beyond the walls of the city, and within the city, the vast majority of her citizens lived in terrible conditions, where bragging rights on food referred to how less rotten it was compared to others. I've mentioned the Mandate of Heaven, a theory of Imperial China, in which a ruler either had or didn't have the Mandate of Heaven, that is, the favor of Heaven. When one had lost this favor, it was evident in the spread of deplorable conditions throughout the realm, from natural disasters to banditry to suffering. Usually when a dynasty collapsed, it was seen as happening because it had lost that mandate. Interestingly, two replicas of the Temple of Heaven (from Beijing) exist in the Earth Kingdom Palace. One of these two temples is in a state of disrepair (its scaffolding was part of the fight scene in the air bender rescue/escape), and here we have a visual key that perhaps the Queen had lost this mandate to rule.

In a small way, Lin and Bolin's grandmother, represented the old Ba Sing Se. She had grown up in a time when life wasn't terrible, nor the ruler of the kingdom. Even though she was surrounded in a city of slums, rotten food, and eventually, devouring flames, she refused to let go of the world she had known and accept the world that it had become. Likewise, she still saw the ruler of the kingdom, the Queen, as a figure worthy of her prayers and respect. She was physically removed by Bolin from her old world as it literally burned to the ground.

Zhao Fu and the Metal Clan. The world that Suyin and the Metal Clan had built stands within Book 3 as the city of change. It's a place that embraced the change to earth building that was founded by Toph, metal bending, and ran headstrong into the future. This futurism is visually conveyed by the Art Deco architecture that forms the basis for Zhao Fu's buildings. The style is symbolized by the embracing of a new industrial age and the technology that was changing everything. Technology and invention is everywhere in Zhao Fu, from its lotus petal walls which cover up the cities at night to the metal bending games of Suyin's son to the radio walkie talkies deployed during the Red Lotus attack.

Suyin's own philosophy is principled on the belief that people change. We see this from her former pirate, now chef, to her willingness to accept Varrick (a decision we've yet to see was a right one) into the ranks of Zhao Fu's residents. She's a progressive in a kingdom ruled by a conservative with a life's history of experimentation with change. Some of her first words to Lin consisted of convincing our Republic City chief of police that she was no longer the person who had left the two scars on Lin's face.

The remaining question now is how will the Book on Change conclude? The question arises, will those who have refused the most to change, the Red Lotus, remain unchanged? Will their refusal to change result in the same demise that befell the Earth Queen? Will those who have most accepted change, theirs or the wider world of change, find themselves empowered in the most dire hour of the season? Perhaps Korra's greatest change, her acceptance that brute force will not always be her strongest weapon, will allow the Avatar to win out against arguably her most dangerous opponents yet. Friday can't get here soon enough!
posted by Atreides at 7:54 PM on August 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


Atreides, you work too hard. Thanks for every post.
posted by Peccable at 11:39 PM on August 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, for the tabletop gamers out there who are familiar with Fate Core or Fate Accelerated, Bumi and Kya dropping off the cliff is an incredibly good illustration of what conceding a conflict rather than getting Taken Out looks like - they "lose" and are no longer in the fight, but the loss is on their terms rather than the attacker's. (And Fate is very much the sort of game where falling off a high cliff and surviving is a good way to resolve a lost conflict. Indeed, The Legend of Korra is the first example in Fate Accelerated's list of the sorts of adventure stories that the system is good for.)
posted by NMcCoy at 1:37 AM on August 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Spirit Iroh creeps me out, bigtime. The current voice actor seems to occupy the uncanny valley of Mako's VA work. Every time he shows up, I tense up and wait for the reveal where he shape shifts into something horrible that takes Korra captive.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:53 AM on August 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Not surprisingly, the voice actor is the same actor who took over the job in Book 3 of ATLA after the real Mako passed away. What I didn't realize until just now was that the replacement voice actor was an under study to Mako. Mako made Iroh the character, so I completely agree with the jarring sense one gets when he speaks. Uncanny valley is a great way to term it. The current guy isn't bad, but the difference always sticks out to me.
posted by Atreides at 9:20 AM on August 17, 2014


The Republic City Dispatch podcast episode for The Ultimatum is out.
posted by Atreides at 11:20 AM on August 17, 2014


Just wanted to relate that we had a Buddhist monk run our UU service this morning...dressed in yellow robes with red accents and named Gyatso. :) My kid and I were looking at each other going "No way!"
posted by emjaybee at 11:56 AM on August 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Cream pies weren't served following the service, were they?
posted by Atreides at 1:32 PM on August 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hmm--for some reason I thought Book 3 ended a few weeks ago and I marathoned it up to ep. 11 recently.

Although many viewers predict that Tenzin's death flag has appeared sometime before the season is over and his last battle doesn't look to be going well. I don't think the creators will kill him at least in the few episodes remaining. It's still incredibly hard to watch him fight to save his family and the Air Temple.

I know *someone* won't be making a reappearance in Book 4 but all bets are off on him/her.

I still find it amusing how grandmother wanted to save the Earth Queen's portrait over IDK her son's last letter or photo? Yeah, I'm pretty amused that they placed her frame by the ceiling, which is usually reserved for ancestors or important documents. I wonder if times were always quite that bad back then compared to now.

I'm happy with the active role Asami is playing in saving and helping Korra during the missions compared to all the other seasons. I'm even happier that the romance subplot is toned down significantly because the world in the edge of a revolution and I honestly don't care who Mako is dating or not.

I am mildly disappointed how Bolin is still a comic relief even though he is better than Book 2 where he was pushed into a supporting character and not really involved with the plot.

Korra, well, I sorta expected her character to be more mature within reason? It's difficult to explain why but her reliance on her bending is still awkward to see her persuade people to join the Air Nomads in the beginning.

Mako? Haha, I guess, it'd be unlikely for him to not follow them on their mission since he is a major character and all. He's getting better? I missed the brother's camaraderie since Book 1 and the pro-bending side story. I'm glad we were able to meet their extended family even though it was only a short time before they had to return.

Kai does have a uncanny resemblance to Aang with his carefree attitude towards life, I admit I was anxious when he played the decoy by the stable.

It was oddly heartbreaking to see Lord Zuko's reaction to Korra meeting Iroh again in the Spirit world. I almost expected him to stop her and ask for details but I guess, there is a emergency going on too.

Not sure how I feel about the Red Lotus, I feel like there's something missing from their brief explanation. It is questionable how they didn't seem to account for all the changes in the last 13 years. Ok, it's not quite a long time but most people tend to adjust their world view even if it's not that extreme from new info.

We can be certain that Korra and company will defeat the Bad Guys but at the same time something is going to be sacrificed. It's nice to see villains who are on the same or near level as the protagonists without some Secret Superpower revealed in the last 5 minutes of the fight.

Here's to a memorable conclusion to Book 3 x)
posted by chrono_rabbit at 10:00 AM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've developed a new from out of left field character to watch out for dying. Mako. He was reluctant to join the mission ("I shouldn't even be here..." type of thing), he's given away his red scarf protective totem, and he's now no longer immediately romantically involved, BUT his romantic involvement in the past provides a great foundation for a response from everyone else.


I still find it amusing how grandmother wanted to save the Earth Queen's portrait over IDK her son's last letter or photo? Yeah, I'm pretty amused that they placed her frame by the ceiling, which is usually reserved for ancestors or important documents. I wonder if times were always quite that bad back then compared to now.

Geez, I noticed that, as well. I keep hoping at some point they'll show her miraculously setting out the photo of her son and his wife, at least, and just wave their hands over us never seeing her grab them. Also, thank you for the insight on the placement of the frame, as I have no knowledge whatsoever of family shrines or memorials in Asian culture. Every bit of new insight is an awesome one.
posted by Atreides at 12:06 PM on August 18, 2014


@Atreides: Although Mako is far from one of my top LoK characters in the cast, I'd feel sad for Bolin since he is his only surviving sibling. Not to mention, still waiting for Mako to come to terms how poorly he treated Asami and Korra ...eventually.

You're welcome. It's always entertaining to see how well-researched AtLA and LoK were developed in their universe and settings based on IRL Chinese culture. I know there are other stories which take place in Not-Asia but they tend to have shallow background ties to the actual history which ends up making the entire place look very silly.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 8:02 PM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still find it amusing how grandmother wanted to save the Earth Queen's portrait over IDK her son's last letter or photo? Yeah, I'm pretty amused that they placed her frame by the ceiling, which is usually reserved for ancestors or important documents. I wonder if times were always quite that bad back then compared to now.

IIRC, photographs of the Thai king are treated this way by Thais.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:03 PM on August 18, 2014


I know *someone* won't be making a reappearance in Book 4 but all bets are off on him/her.

I've heard a number of references to rumors that an ongoing character will be killed, but I've never been able to track down a source. Is there a specific reason to believe someone besides the Earth Queen goes down for good?
posted by weston at 11:03 AM on August 19, 2014


Short of having seen the finale, I haven't seen any reliable source for saying as much. I've seen someone on Reddit imply they know what happens, but of course, out of the kindness of their heart, aren't going to spoil things. We're about 72 hours away, Thursday night is going to be awful....even worse, I won't have enough time in the morning to watch it during breakfast cause it'll be two episodes long.

ARGH.
posted by Atreides at 2:58 PM on August 19, 2014


No, credible source but it'd fit in with what we know from Book 1 & 2 and how the villains ended up. Also, the story arcs seem to be self-contained so there's good chance a new Bad Guy will make a appearance for Book 4.

It'd be too easy for Zaheer to die at the end and awkward since there are other members of the Red Lotus to deal with too. I guess, he can go all "This is the beginning of the End" monologue if he doesn't make it.

Just based on my own conjecture how it has a good chance of being one of the on-going heroes because it'd give Korra a new direction to go towards for the final season.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 4:42 PM on August 19, 2014


ahhhh I totally missed this thread D:

It never occurred to me that Tenzin might die. It makes some sense, having a mentor character die, except Korra doesn't seem to follow a Hero's Journey narrative and Tenzin seems to have treated Korra more or less like a peer since Book 2. I also feel like his death would leave things in the same place -- everyone's still going to look for airbenders and hunt down the Red Lotus.

Or perhaps I'm simply incredibly biased and really don't want Tenzin to die.

Lin, maybe? She's wanted to keep Korra safe in Republic City, so her dying would give Korra reason to throw all caution to the wind, and would force Suyin to be more involved than she already is. (Isn't there a screenshot floating around with her and Zaheer in the circus or something? Yes, there is.) And if we're making predictions with an eye toward Book 4, at least some of the police have been shown to be corrupt in previous seasons, and I can't imagine that Lin's replacement would be as fair-minded/not corrupt as she is.

I hope I'm wrong, because Lin is my favorite character.
posted by supermassive at 5:57 PM on August 21, 2014


« Older Defiance: Painted From Memory...   |  Adventure Time: Joshua And Mar... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments